Sunday 21 December 2014

Doctor 'shocked and angry' over MS sufferer's condition

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

Published 29/11/2012 | 05:00

A DOCTOR who called to the house of a 59-year-old woman has described his horror at finding her "emaciated" and "just staring" while huddled in bed.

Evelyn Joel was in a "life or death situation" when she was discovered by Dr Derek Forde in an upstairs bedroom of her daughter's home in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, six years ago.

The GP told a court he was "shocked, angry and annoyed" by Mrs Joel's condition. Dr Forde was giving evidence at the trial of Evelyn's daughter, Eleanor Joel (38), and her partner, Jonathan Costen (40), at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court. The pair, who live at Cluain Dara, Enniscorthy, have pleaded not guilty to the unlawful killing by neglect of Evelyn Joel, a multiple sclerosis sufferer, on January 7, 2006.

Judge Sean O Donnabhain heard that there was an "overpowering" smell when he entered Mrs Joel's bedroom. Dr Forde said he witnessed the woman "emaciated" and "filthy," with faeces on her torso. He did not examine her as there were health and safety risks and the patient was "as close to death as could be".

Dr Forde said he told Eleanor Joel and Jonathan Costen that he was "shocked at seeing someone in this condition".

He then advised Wexford General Hospital of the patient's condition as he felt it would cause "some shock to staff" when she arrived by ambulance.

In cross-examination by the defence, Dr Forde agreed that he told a tribunal of inquiry into Mrs Joel's death that Eleanor Joel and Jonathan Costen "wouldn't be very bright" and the "seriousness of it (Mrs Joel's condition) just didn't seem to register".

The trial continues.

Irish Independent

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